Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain



Sagrada Familia Barcelona, Spain. June 2018

Ancient History….

I was last in Barcelona when I was 19 years old. You may ask how I could possibly remember anything from so long ago? Ya well, it was 1968, I was on an Easter adventure with a busload of teenage girls from my school in Switzerland.  I’m pretty sure we spent little time in Barcelona, but who knows. I remember a bullfight in Cordoba and sneaking out of our hotel one night in Valencia (we didn’t last long, being too afraid of getting caught). At that age, I was more interested in checking out the cute Spanish lads than drinking in the beauty of Spain. My year in Europe wasn’t entirely wasted though, from that year I gained my curiosity and love of travel. Thank you Mom and Dad.

Modern times….

Now a (very) mature traveler I appreciate so much more  (although the young Spanish men are still pretty nice to look at.) 

June 2018

Gail and I flew to Barcelona from Boston this week; we have two nights in Barcelona before we board our cruise ship Azamara Quest to visit islands in the Mediterranean, ending in Rome.

We landed around noon, dropped our luggage at our hotel and taxied to our 3 pm Sagrada Familia Skip the Line tour. We booked the small group tour through Viator before arriving in Spain and we were not disappointed.

Our guide, Anna, met our group (10 people) at the designated time and place. She is about 35 with a floppy hat and a fun attitude. Her English is very good, she also speaks Spanish, Catalan, and French.  Anna is very knowledgeable and gave us a fantastic tour. Without a knowledgeable guide we could easily walk around the inside and outside of the church and come out saying it was a lovely church – missing all the details. Anna’s knowledge made the church come alive.

Anna B our Tour guide booked through Viator

Our wonderful Tour Guide Anna B

A little background…..
In 1882 architect Antoni Gaudi took over the building of the church when the original architect resigned. The deal was he would sign on if he had complete artistic control. I bet the powers that be were ultimately surprised at the results.  He created a design like no other, then or now.  When Gaudi died in 1926 only about 15-25 percent of his plan was built. Since then, with advancements in technology and building materials, the new completion date is 2026 (100 years after his death)!  The detail on practically every inch of the place is mindboggling.


The exterior of the Sagrada Familia, cranes and all. Working towards the 2026 completion.

Sagrada Familia is a mixture of Gothic and Art Nouveau. Gaudi’s designed the church to represent nature; flowers, trees, insects, reptiles, and animals. Religious scenes from Christ’s birth to resurrection, with all the players represented, are incorporated into the exterior facade. You could study the church over a lifetime and never see everything. 

As you walk around the outside of the church, cranes above still working, you see the various styles of architecture. Several architects, relying mostly on Gaudi’s vision, have left their mark.  I’ll leave you to read the Wikipedia info, it’s quite fascinating. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain


The huge columns are trees with knots, and branches reaching to the sky.

The interior is like a big forest. The columns are trees with knots, limbs, branches, and leaves. The colors of the stain glass windows represent the four seasons; blue for winter, green for spring, yellow and orange for summer and fall. The brilliant colors are reflected on the walls casting a beautiful aura. The colors change depending on the time of day and direction of the sun. 

Looking up you see a long balcony that can fit a thousand person choir! The floors and columns are built with material to absorb sound. Everywhere you look there are meaningful details. I am in awe!

From the interior, we went to a small adjacent building to see a replica of the schoolroom Gaudi built for the children of his workers.  In another building, there is a museum showing models of Gaudi’s work.  It’s quite fascinating, he used small bags of sand to calculate the counterbalance of the huge ceiling.  I didn’t understand any of it but I love the results.  There is also a glassed-in workroom where the current builders and architects recreate models of his plans using computers rather than sandbags,

(I’m working with ridiculously slow internet.  I’ve added the pictures in a slideshow, I’ll label at a later time. )




We booked the Skip the Line with Guided tour through Viator. The cost was about 39 Euro pp, and it took about 1.5 hours. The guide Anna B was very knowledgeable and funny. I could tell she wasn’t just going through the motions but cared to show us as much as possible.
The entry was easy and quick, and we each had a headset so we could easily hear everything Anna said. She took the time to make sure she answered our questions but was good at anticipating what we may want to know. Tomorrow is Monserrat!


I'm in my sixties with the world at my feet and thoughts mostly of "where to next?". I retired in 2017, sold my house in Massachusetts and most of my furniture and "stuff." When not traveling you can find me in Florida in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Travel has been a passion from a young age, over the years I've discovered I'm a traveler, not a tourist. I prefer traveling solo, with a travel friend, or small groups. Whenever possible I would rather spend time in one place rather than moving around. I'll never turn down an opportunity to go to France, but my travels have taken me all over the world. I've met some incredible people and had some fantastic experiences.


  • Patricia July 1, 2018 at 4:52 am Reply

    Thanks for taking us along, Kathy! Keep posting!

  • Leo July 31, 2018 at 7:13 am Reply

    The interior is like a big forest… You are really right!
    Thanks for useful post!

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